National News

Woman imprisoned for 16 years could get new murder trial in Las Vegas

Posted November 15, 2017 1:35 p.m. EST

— Since 2001, Kirstin Blaise Lobato, who goes by Blaise, has sat in a Nevada Prison for a murder she said she didn't commit. Last year, Blaise said she was confident going into her first trial.

"I figured everything would come out in the wash," she said. "I was like 'it's not me', and I figured everything would work out because I believed in the system."

Blaise was convicted of murdering Duran Bailey, a homeless man. Bailey was found beaten and stabbed in a trash enclosure near what is now the Palms. There was never any physical evidence tying Blaise to the murder, or to Bailey.

Blaise first got on Police's radar because a probation officer called them. Beginning in May, more than two months before the murder, Blaise told people she was attacked by a man. Blaise told multiple people, she pulled out a pocket knife and was able to slash near the man's groin, he fell over, and she ran away. Blaise told one of her teacher's about the attack, that teacher then turned and told a probation officer who called Metro Police.

Metro Police asked Blaise about her attack, then arrested her for the murder of Duran Bailey. Blaise said when she was first arrested, she thought she had possibly killed her attacker. That is until she was in court and saw a picture of Duran Bailey, and said it was not the man who attacked her.

For 16 years following the murder, Blaise has maintained that police mixed up her attack with Bailey's murder. And twice, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled there were problems with her conviction. Last Nov., they sent the case back to Clark County to Judge Stefany Miley which resulted in a five-day long evidentiary hearing.

During that evidentiary hearing, Blaise's team, led by the Innocence Project argued that Blaise's lawyers failed to narrow down a time of death. Time of death is crucial in this case because more than 14 witnesses placed Blaise 175 miles away in Panaca before and after the body was found. One of the people to testify was Blaise's former lawyer David Schieck.

"I am convinced that the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Blaise was not in Panaca at the time Duran Bailey was killed," he told Deputy District Attorney Sandra Diagocomo.

Diagocomo on behalf of the State is arguing that just because one of Blaise's lawyers were incompetent, does not mean her entire previous team was. She also said that new techniques in determining the time of death should not be considered because they were not available at the time of Blaise's last trial.

Judge Miley said she would issue her decision on whether Blaise will get a new trial by Nov. 14. FOX5 did a series on Lobato's trials called guilty until proven innocent.